I'll definitely hit Northwest Folklife and probably the Tenor Guitar Gathering. Unfortunately, since my son is autistic, one of the things he absolutely can't handle is large crowds, so Folklife freaks him out ... which means that apart from playing a couple of gigs I probably won't get to spend a lot of time there.
With the revelation that friends of ours own a house in Port Townsend comes the realization that I might actually be able to attend the Centrum blues workshop this year ... wife and kid could stay in the house with me for the week. Could be a good year at Centrum for mandolinists ... Rich DelGrosso, Billy Flynn and Steve James are all teaching there!
Living on the left side of the country our must attend festival is the CBA Fathers Day Festival in Grass Valley , Ca. One main stage ,two smaller stages, a three day music camp before the festival, and a ton of jamming. Already getting excited. The good news is we have a festival next weekend (Mother's Day) down in Parkfield Ca., the earthquake capital of the world. Lots of jammin'. Fun little place middle of nowhere.
Bean Blossom! This from the guy who lives in the same city (Milwaukee) and used to play at the world's largest music festival! Summerfest is a great big drag!
Bean Blossom is wonderful with great Bluegrass, nice people, no alcohol, no tobacco, etc.
The Ole Time Fiddler’s & Bluegrass Festival in Union Grove, NC is the oldest Continuous Run Festival of its type in North America, beginning in 1924. Now 88th year. Always on Memorial Day weekend.
Link to Fiddlers' Grove Webpage
“Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”
These days, I'm partial to Harry Grant's Wind Gap (PA) festival in early June. A very nice atmosphere, not crowded, nice folks.
But the BEST bluegrass festival I ever went to was the original Berkshire Mountains Bluegrass Festival which ran from 1976 to 1985 (mostly on the Rothvoss Farm south of Hillsdale, NY). That one "had it all"!
Addicted to Grey Fox for the last few years, since I got into the mandolin. Workshops are fun and the Masters tent is always great. A number of folks from the local jams I go to are also addicted.
I usually go to the http://huckfinn.com for my blue grass fix for the summer. Otherwise, I go to a camping jam in the Laguna mountains near San Diego for a great weekend of music!
My favorite is the Annual Tenor Guitar Gathering in Astoria, Oregon. http://www.tenorguitargathering.com coming up May 31, June1,2,3, 2012. It's a chance for mandolin players, and other musicians, to get a chance to learn about one of the instruments still mainly in the shadows. About 40 to 45 people attended the first two years. They played music on The Trolley as it rolls along the Columbia River. People who came to the first one, returned for the second and plan to attend the third, which is a good sign they love it.
P.S. If you Google "mark josephs tenor guitar" it will pull up YouTube videos of short lessons that are transferable to the mandolin, in most cases, as well as a link to the Annual Tenor Guitar Gatherings. Or you can click here: http://www.tenorguitargathering.com and also see videos and get info.
Mine is the New Bedford Summerfest in New Bedford, MA, a little less than an hour from where I live. It's an entire weekend full of music on 6 stages, mostly outdoors, on 4th of July Weekend. Low ticket prices, high music value. They will have numerous well-known performers and many lesser-known performers, both local and otherwise, showcasing numerous folk-oriented music genres, and several nationalities. Also several streets worth of artists, artisans, craftspeople, instrument makers, etc. It's held in the historic section of old New Bedford, where the whaling museum is and the streets are cobble-stoned. I usually go both Saturday and Sunday (although it begins on Friday evening), and never can get enough. I'd say it's the best festival I've ever been to. I've been going for more than 10 years, I think, and it's the highlight of my summer for sure.
The summer hat-trick for me is Wayne Henderson's party, Galax, and MerleFest.
And there's Floyd Fest if you don't mind all the Birkenstocks and armpit hair.
Here are my favorites.
NEPA Bluegrass Festival, Tunkannock PA 6/1-3 www.nepabluegrass.com
Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival, Lowville NY 6/15-17 www.tughillbluegrass.com
Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival, Reedsville PA 7/12-15 www.remingtonryde.com
Pickin' In The Pasture, Lodi NY 8/23-26 www.pickininthepasture.com
I already answered once (Oregon Country Fair), and since then the discussion has seemed to veer into "favorite bluegrass festival" (which is fine), but I'd also like to throw out the Kate Wolf Music Festival at Black Oak Ranch in Mendocino County. Chill times and groovy folk at the Hog Farm.
1994 Stiver F5 #230
Washburn M-3SW/TS F5
1972 Martin D-18
Airventure, Oshkosh WI, late July. The Flying Musicians was formed a couple of years ago, so there's nightly get-togethers for jams. And sitting around the campground in the evening, I take out the mando & start strumming. Folks stop by & say hi - best part of any gathering!
A "Not Ready for Prime Time" player
Strawberry Music Festival
Appalachian String Band Music Festival (aka Clifftop)
I'd go the other direction from John L and pick the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival every August in Nova Scotia. Very few mandolins but super maritime folk and more. The talent is outstanding, the festival is well run, and the town a joy.
I look forward, again, to Broadstairs Folk Week. It's amazing to be able to cycle to the seaside and catch so much festival atmosphere and folk music. And seafood and beer and fudge. Maybe I'll bring my own instrument for the first time this year, and try to play along at the shelter session.
The last few years my favorite festival has been the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival - our local festival.
While there are better lineups, it's hard to beat a small, family-friendly festival 20 minutes from home. Last summer my daughter and I danced to Bruce Molsky leading the jam circle, the year before she danced most of Tim O'Brien's set on a nearly empty dance floor. One big old tent, with a playground away from the tent yet close enough to hear the stage. It could use more jamming - yet I've really enjoyed having a less-intense experience where my wife and daughter have as much fun as I do.
Another few years and I'll travel for festivals again ... when my preschool daughter is no longer young and eager to dance to OT with me [and would would prefer I stop being so embarassing]. Alone, I'll have plenty of time for jamming ...
Is Winfield good for serious audience listening and parking lot picking? I haven't been since about 1972!!! I'd like to return, but would shy away if there are too many distractions.